Letter bombs in Kelowna worry health care workers

News release

Police say no link to abortion clinic, but union says we need to take precautions

The Hospital Employees’ Union is calling for increased security for health care workers who work in or near the abortion clinic at Kelowna Regional Hospital after the regional health unit received a letter bomb on Monday.

While police say there is no link between the letter bomb and the abortion clinic, HEU’s secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt says it’s a wake-up call. “There have been a series of attacks on abortion clinics in the province,” he says. “And HEU is extremely concerned about the safety of all workers who are part of the health care teams that provide abortion services for women.”

The union does not disagree with a spokesperson for the Ministry of Women’s Equality who says the security offered to women who seek abortions is top-notch at the facility.

But HEU members who work in offices surrounding the clinic are not so sure that their safety is assured. Payroll and information services offices, staffed by HEU members, are in close proximity to the clinic, and public access areas like human resources are also close by.

The recently opened clinic is in the process of hiring a licensed practical nurse and a clerical person.

Housekeeping and materials staff who work on the same floor also provide those services to the clinic. “These HEU members and other staff inside the clinic deserve to feel safe at their workplace,” says Allnutt. “Even though there is a security system in place, and even though this incident is believed by police to be unrelated to the abortion clinic, we feel security should be beefed up to protect the staff and the women who come into the clinic until these incidents cease.”